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Changing of the guard

Changing of the guard

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Chriss Scherer, editor
[email protected]

When you think of AM RF systems, the names of a few individuals come to mind. Over the past few years, Ben Dawson and Ron Rackley have been holding the exalted AM guru post with their visible appearances at NAB convention presentations. Carl Smith is of course another name associated with AM. But as a Radio magazine reader there’s one name you know that is held in high regard when it comes to AM: John Battison. I’m proud to say that he is a significant contributor to Radio magazine; you regularly see his column here.

John’s career in radio is long and varied. And while I noted his experience with AM, he is just as knowledgeable in FM and TV. His work with RF has taken him around the world, and he epitomizes the title of his RF Engineering column with his knowledge of transmission systems.

John’s involvement with Radio magazine begins with his work on Broadcast Engineering magazine. While Radio magazine on its own has been around since 1994, its roots begin in 1959 when Broadcast Engineering covered radio and TV. Not long after Broadcast Engineering was founded, John was writing for it.

In December 1961, he became consulting editor and penned an editorial outlining the need for a new technical society that would serve the interests of the station engineer. That suggestion took root, and by 1964, John had built the foundations and became the first president of that new society: The Society of Broadcast Engineers.

And while John’s RF work is extensive, he has many other interests. He was an RAF pilot in WWII. He is an ordained minister. He loves cats.

In the years of reading his columns before I joined Radio magazine in 1997, and then working with him since becoming the editor, I have learned a great deal from him. I’m the first to admit I got into radio because of my interest in audio. I picked up RF along the way, and I certainly have gained a great deal of understanding from John.

Several years ago, John retired from his regular consulting work. He retained a few clients, and he continued writing for Radio magazine. What saddens me is that John has told me the time has come for him to surrender his regular column post. He has put in nearly 50 years of writing for Broadcast Engineering and Radio magazines. I’d say that’s a pretty good run.

I don’t plan to let him just disappear, however. While he may not write a regular column, I will tap his knowledge as a technical resource in the future. You may still see his byline on occasion for special features. So rather than saying John is signing off, let’s just say he is going to reduced power for post-sunset operation.

John’s last regular column appears in this issue.

Because John has touched so many people in radio, we have created a blog for your comments at and a discussion thread on Facebook. Please post any comments for John that you would like to share.

Also, look to Sign Off for more of John’s accomplishments and history with Radio magazine.

The RF Engineering column will continue, and another RF expert takes over the reins from John: Jeremy Ruck. Jeremy has many years of RF experience working with Don Markley (yet another legendary name in RF). Jeremy has written for Radio magazine in the past, so it’s my pleasure to bring him on to the regular roster.

What’s your opinion? Send it to[email protected]

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